with guests Walt Mussell and Lindi Peterson.Have you ever had a passion for something? A real wish to change the world in some way? Sometimes, a cause, a situation, or an enlightening triggers us to take action.
As a writer, we have more than one way to influence the world. We can write for charity.
Lindi and I have teamed up with a group of primarily Atlanta-based authors to participate in an anthology to help raise money for a school in Atlanta for children with dyslexia. Lindi will go into detail about our project.
My purpose is to provide a list of things to consider when writing for charity.
I remember my first attempt at writing for charity. I teamed with a now Love Inspired author (back in her pre-fame days). Our project was a book of family recipes from famous authors. We amassed around thirty recipes to start, narrowed it down to two charitable options (Hunger or Autism), and put together a proposal with the help of the other author’s agent. After eighteen publisher rejections, the agent gave up.
I still have the recipes, and have even made a few of them, but it gnawed at me for a long time that the project never reached fruition. I learned that it’s best to choose your charity at the outset, as some authors, though keen to help, want specifics before committing their time.
We’ve learned a lot on this project. However, we also wanted to include tips in writing for charity as a single author. For that, I sought advice from Alana Terry, an inspirational suspense author who has dedicated much of her writing to supporting a charity for refugees trying to escape North Korea (over $4,000 raised to date). Whether writing as a solo or a group, some advice works for both
- Make your book connect to the charity.
For many of Alana’s books, the setting is in North Korea, which fits in with her charity. For the school anthology, every story makes a tangential reference to dyslexia. Last year, another group of authors put together an anthology that focused on human trafficking. Every story in the book contained a link to information on trafficking. (For my failed cookbook, we should have focused on hunger.)
- Select a charity that wants to be a partner.
For the dyslexia anthology, there will be a signing at the school, something possible as most of the authors are Atlanta-based. In addition, the lead author works closely with the school, which makes the book more fulfilling. Per Alana, you hope the charity will “promote your work.” This deepens the connection to what you do.
- Ensure your efforts are used for the charity.
For both projects referenced, time was spent ensuring that the funds raised would be put to the needs.
- For a group project, sign a contract.
Writing is still a professional endeavor. You need your rights outlined, such as time donated to the project. Earlier, I mentioned an anthology that focused on human trafficking. The project had a limited time engagement of four months.
- For a group project, have a back-up plan.
In the case of the dyslexia project, one author had to drop out at the last minute, leaving the project in a quandary as the donated cover art, among other things, specified “twelve” authors. The lead author located a replacement and the project stayed on course.
My good friend Ciara Knight has dyslexia. Her son also has dyslexia. He goes to a school that specializes in teaching children who are dyslexic. Awesome, huh? But last year they were informed they needed to find a new location for the school, a task that wasn’t easy. They did land in an awesome place, but the budget was tight.
|Lindi and Ciara.|
What a project!
Like all projects, there have been many amazing moments, as well as challenging moments. Ciara worked hard getting the cover art and formatting donated. What they found in putting all this together is that the writing community is not shy about being willing to help or donate their time and mad skills. A NYT Bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon, also has dyslexia,and agreed to write the forward for the novellas. As Walt mentioned above an author stepped up at almost the last minute when one of the original authors had to back out. The formatting of twelve books was a bit challenging, but people willing to work around the clock were able to get the job done.
It does take a village people!
There are people working on PR right now. As Walt mentioned, there is a book-signing scheduled at the school. There is a Thunderclap set up, as well as a social media blitz going on. We have two parties planned on FB for the release day, one the day before with guest authors, and one the day of with the twelve authors. Everyone is participating 100% because we have a desire to help where and when we can.
On a personal side, I’ve had four book launches. At each one of those launches, I had a giveaway where all the money collected went to a certain charity. It all depended on what was going on in my life at the time as to what charity the money went to. And let’s be honest, it wasn’t a lot of money, but anytime we can donate to a good cause, why not do it? Through the book launches, I was able to give money to autism, breast cancer, missionaries in Peru. Once again, the readers and writers united to help a cause.
|Everyone loves giveaways!|
I’m sure many of you have causes that you are passionate about. Look around your communities. There are probably many ways to help at a local level if you want to donate time. Online access makes it very easy to donate financially.
And of course, look at your favorite authors. Check out what they are doing. You never know the impact you can make by simply buying a book. Walt and I are giving away two copies to a commenter today! Either E book or Print book—whichever the winner chooses.
Seekerville wants in on this fun! We're Seekerville is going to give away four E copies to four commenters. Note this will release on August 30th! So leave a comment.
Romance for the soul, a gift from the heart.
This collection of sweet and inspirational novellas has an uplifting love story for everyone. These stories bring a touch of grace to romance and a touch of romance to your heart.
Can a town save a marriage? Will a high school reunion offer a second chance at love? Can a man with a secret and a woman afraid of being hurt learn to trust? Can a girl running from her past escape her heart? Will a woman trapped in the past discover the true importance of family? Can unexpected love become the best present ever?
Pre-order Love and Grace on ITunes
Pre-order Love and Grace on Kobo
Pre-order Love and Grace at Barnes and Noble
So, for the typical Seekerville charge, we raise two questions:
1) If you could write for charity, what type of project would you like to be involved in?
2) What should Walt do with those recipes?
Special thanks to Alana Terry for her help. Please click here to check out her latest work and here to check out her website.
Walt Mussell lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and two sons. He works for a well-known corporation and writes in his spare time. Walt primarily writes historicals, with a particular focus on Japan, an interest he gained in the four years he lived there. Outside of writing, his favorite activity is trying to keep up with his kids. As one is starting college and the other is starting high school, this is proving more difficult.
Visit his website “Daddy Needs Decaf” at waltmussell.blogspot.com. Follow on Twitter at @wmussell
USA Today featured author Lindi Peterson lives in north Georgia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and a lively array of cats, dogs, and birds. She loves sharing life with her family and friends. Her passion for reading led her to writing, and then God spoke words of love into her heart and changed her life forever.
Visit her at: lindipeterson.com/inspyromance.com